A Canadian coroner’s inquest into the 2010 training death of Point Edward (Ontario) volunteer firefighter Gary Kendall is looking at the safety procedures and training practices in place at the time of Kendall’s death.
Kendall was participating in an ice-rescue refresher training exercise in January 2010 when he was swept under the ice in the fast-moving river. CTV reported that Terry Harrison, a firefighter who owns a private ice-rescue training company, was on site when Kendall died and at similar training in 2015 where firefighting student Adam Brunt died. Harrison told the inquest jury that nothing could have been done differently to save Kendall’s life.
“The whole situation happened in seconds,” he said.
Harrison was acquitted on charges involving Kendall’s death.
The incident has kicked off a debate as to whether this type of training is needed. Point Edward Fire Chief Doug MacKenzie said the training is necessary, but that more oversight is needed. He called on the providence to set regulatory safety standards that private training firms must meet.
Ontario Fire College, the provincial body that provides firefighter training, does not offer ice-rescue courses.